How To Prepare For A Fundraising Lunch

You have a lunch appointment with a prospective donor, but how do you make sure it’s a success?

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While you can’t make your prospect’s decision for them, following this fundraising lunch checklist will help them be as open as possible to contributing to your nonprofit:

  • Know the prospect:

    Take some time to do your research. Figure out who the person is, what motivates them, what they care about, etc. The more you know about the person, the better prepared you’ll be to make the ask.

  • Inform the prospect:

    Make sure they know the purpose of the lunch and let them know what to expect. Tell them about who will be there and what you will discuss.

  • Practice:

    You need to develop a strategy and practice it before going to lunch. Take enough time to work out all the details.

  • Plan where and what to eat:

    Make sure you have a place with enough privacy to ask for a donation without advertising it to the whole world. Also, choose what you will eat beforehand. This will help you appear more confident and decisive.

  • Limit small talk:

    Remember your purpose for being there. Use just enough chit-chat to help the prospective donor feel comfortable and to make the situation as natural as possible.

  • Be calm:

    Your confidence will play a large role in the prospect’s decision to donate. Speak at a normal, natural pace, and keep calm. This will help the prospect to remain calm and open as well.

  • Share, don’t sell:

    Remember, you’re not pushing your organization onto the person. You are sharing your passion for what you do and discussing your work.

  • Ask directly:

    When it comes time to make the ask, tie up the discussion and ask directly and politely for a donation. Then wait for them to answer.

  • Thank them:

    Whether it’s for their time, their consideration, or their contribution, thank them as soon as they give you an answer.

  • Determine follow-up:

    Ask them how and when you can follow up with them. You need to be the one to follow up on their commitment, especially if their response to the ask is “I’ll think about it.” Be sure to schedule the follow up once you are done.

  • Record what you learned:

    Record everything you learned about the prospect. Then send it to whoever is in charge of updating your donor database.

  • Send a thank you note:

    Make sure it is handwritten and that it shows you remember the person as an individual. Success is in the details.

As long as you are professional and attentive, following these steps will help make your lunch appointment successful.

Reprinted with the permission of Y Scouts.

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